News for Tuesday June 2nd, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
Governor Edwards announces the state will move into phase two of reopening of the economy beginning on Friday. Edwards says he made the decision after analyzing several key metrics. Phase two means bars can reopen at 25-percent capacity, while restaurants and other businesses can increase capacity from 25 to 50-percent. Pool halls, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors, recreational pools and spas can reopen for the first time since March. Edwards reminds the public the state’s fight against COVID-19 is not over. The state will remain in Phase Two at least until June 26th.
Tort reform aimed at lowering auto insurance rates will head to the governor’s desk without a veto-proof majority of support in the House, raising the possibility that the Governor could veto the legislation that he’s long criticized, saying the bill does not do anything to lower rates but does undermine victim’s ability to get a fair settlement. Bill sponsor River Ridge Senator Kirk Talbot pushed back on that claim. Talbot says the bill brings our legal climate in line with other states.
A bill allocating 300 million dollars to create a grant program for the states small businesses also passes. The bill was controversial for drawing the funds from money set aside to help local governments salvage their budgets in the face of COVID-related revenue loss.
Legislation allowing any patient with a debilitating condition to receive medical marijuana from any state-licensed doctor is headed to the governor’s desk. The bill’s author Stonewall Rep. Larry Bagley says the measure has the opportunity to combat the opioid crisis.
A bill that sets up the regulations so Louisiana residents can participate in online fantasy sports contests for cash prizes is headed to the governor’s desk. Fairness for Fantasy Sports spokesperson Ryan Berni says they’re confident Governor Edwards will sign the legislation and hopefully lawmakers will approve the taxation in the June special session.
As soon as the regular legislative session finished lawmakers went into a special session. Lawmakers are set to tangle over proposals aimed at rebooting the state’s economy and passing the state’s budget for the next fiscal year that begins July 1st.
Chairman of the Louisiana Economic Recovery Task Force Jason Decuir says first up is codifying relief passed by executive order during the early days of the pandemic. Legislators will also consider a temporary, and possibly permanent repeal of the franchise tax.
Monday marked the official start of the 2020 hurricane season and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness wants you to get prepared for a projected busy season. GOHSEP spokesperson Mike Steele says the state is actively preparing to have to respond to a severe weather event in the midst of a pandemic. Tropical Depression 3 has formed in the Bay of Campeche. The system could enter the gulf as tropical storm on Saturday afternoon.
LSU outlines a roadmap to the return to physical class settings this fall. Cleaning, handwashing, and physical distancing will see a continued emphasis. LSU Interim President Thomas Galligan expects the CDC will also still recommend face coverings, so the university will contribute to that need. LSU also plans to test 10 to 16 percent of the populations of the campuses statewide for the virus this fall, with voluntary participants selected at random. The current plans would see the fall semester starting on schedule.
Two of four inmates who escaped from Detention Center 1 in Marksville have been captured. However the search for the final two inmates continues. 18 year old Travis Green and 34 year old Brandon Johnson have evaded authorities so far. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of these individuals is asked to contact the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The state Senate passed several bills to improve Louisiana’s criminal justice system, including a bill to make probation less costly for both the state and offenders. Other bills would adjust the juvenile probation procedure and provide released prisoners letters verifying where they had served their time. The measures had already been approved by the House and now go to the governor for his approval.
LSU announces it will play Grambling State and Southern for the first time ever in football over the next couple of years. The Fighting Tigers will host the Jaguars on September 10th, 2022 in Tiger Stadium and in 2023, Grambling will be in Death Valley for a game against LSU on September ninth. Athletics Director Scott Woodward says these games will not only be a celebration of football, but also the state of Louisiana and all of its people.
On Friday night, protestors smashed the exterior glass of the College Football of Fame in Atlanta and gained entry. But officials say the hall’s treasured artifacts, collections and displays were untouched and remain protected in secured locations. The substantial damage that did occur was limited to the gift shop and its merchandise.
Former Auburn football coach and athletic director Pat Dye has passed away at the age of 80. He won 99 games in 12 seasons and won and shared four SEC titles. The 80-year-old was hospitalized last month for kidney-related issues.
There’s big news involving Louisiana Tech and its baseball program. The Conference USA Baseball championship tournament will be played at J-C Love Field at Patterson Park next year. The facility is currently being rebuilt after it was destroyed by an EF-3 tornado last year. It will mark the first Conference USA championship that La Tech has hosted since it joined the league in 2013 and the first Tech baseball hosted the league championships since the 2008 Western Athletic Conference Championships.